Image: Markus Winkler on Unsplash

As the year wraps up, we thought it the opportune time to reflect on some of the many Lightning Updates that were distributed. We covered topics ranging from 30×30 and building climate resiliency to cicadas, regenerative agriculture and rockfish. Looking back through the Updates, we identified reader favorites and have highlighted the top five for you to check out again or for the first time if you missed them initially.


2021’s Top Five Reader’s Choice Lightning Updates:

Creating the Commons
Jonathan Doherty, 2/24/21

Today we’re checking in with one of the outstanding leaders of the Chesapeake conservation community, Brett Glymph, Executive Director of the Virginia Outdoors Foundation — and also a member of the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership’s Steering Committee!

In this interview, Brett talks movingly about the influences on her work, how conservation programs can respond to issues of equity, and her hopes for land conservation as a vital force in democracy. Read on for some meaningful reflections.

Pushing Boundaries
Jonathan Doherty, 5/4/2021

After writing weekly Lightning Updates for almost three years, I’m about to enter a new post-full-time-job phase of life. Perhaps you will pardon my using this and next week’s updates for some personal observations. Here’s part I.

I’ve been reflecting on forty years of varied work in conservation. How it evolved. How choices and priorities look today. What stands out. Is there some theme?

Lifelong Learning
Jonathan Doherty, 5/11/21

Last week’s Lighting Update shared some reflections on “pushing boundaries.” In part II of some closing observations, I feel compelled to write of the lessons and people who have taught me as a conservationist. Where does a whole landscape sensibility come from? How is it cultivated? Each of us has a story. Here’s mine.

Location. Location. Location
Jonathan Doherty, 4/27/21

Recent Lightning Updates focused on aspects of the climate crisis. Today’s is on one major climate mitigation strategy with significant land use implications – converting to renewable energy generation.

A year ago, we offered a quick overview of ongoing work in several states to influence the siting of solar panels to minimize adverse impacts on lands with important conservation values. Let’s pick
up with some recent case studies on solar siting.

The Urgency of Urban Green Space
Jonathan Doherty, 3/23/21

In one neighborhood on the west side of Chicago, the county and the state of Illinois spent at least $238 million over five years — not improving the neighborhood, but incarcerating its residents.

A new Washington Post series called “Reimagine Safety” includes a segment on making neighborhoods safer by changing the physical environment. The story reports on a multi-year, randomized trial in Philadelphia of the effects on safety from revitalizing vacant lots as green space. The results — over 3 years gun violence near the restored lots fell by 29%. And the cost of the intervention? $1.50 per square foot for the restoration and 15 cents per square foot for annual maintenance. A far cry from the human and financial costs of incarceration.

Clearly, the favorites here are among the countless Updates that were written by Jonathan Doherty over the years. After his retirement in May, we have engaged an entire team to attempt to fill the giant shoes he left behind. Perhaps we don’t have his finesse, even collectively, but readership numbers continue to be high. We have received some nice comments throughout the year, and appreciate hearing from our readers, and we hope that you will let us know what you would like to read more about in 2022. We want to express our gratitude to the guest authors we have seen this year, both staff and outside partners, who have contributed tremendously. These include Warren Brown, Harry Huntley, Tony Hiss, Peter Marx, Joe McCauley, Jake Leizear, Tim Male, John Griffin, Amelia Lowe, Britt Slattery and Jody Couser; as well as a host of additional reviewers and others helping behind the scenes to the team effort. Thank you all.

The CCP staff would like to wish you a happy, healthy new year full of rewarding outdoor time. We look forward to what 2022 has in store and thank you for your continued support for the CCP in 2021 and always.

In-text image credit:

  1. PeakVisor
  2. Lifelong Learning Lightning Update
  3. Chesapeake Conservancy
  4. The Washington Post
  5. Enrichmond Foundation

Lightning Update is a regular communication of the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions of the Partnership or member organizations.
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